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FORT FRANCES, Ont. Letting a large multinational private corporation take over the management of Rainycrest Home for the Aged will lead to service and staff cuts, tax dollars wasted on profits and a lack of local accountability, warned the union representing 185 workers at the home.

Rainycrest must remain firmly under public control, said Lorelei Caldwell, spokesperson for Local 65 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Letting a private corporation take over management on an interim basis is like letting the fox into the henhouse its pretty hard to get them to leave once theyve begun feasting. Caldwell was commenting on a recent decision by the board of directors to invite Extendicare, a multinational corporation that runs 278 private for-profit facilities across North America, to manage Rainycrest in a bid to find cost savings.

Bringing in a private, profit-seeking corporation is no way to reduce costs, warned Caldwell. The only way for Extendicare to cut costs is to reduce services, cut staff or skimp on food and other important services, because the bottom line for the company is to add profits to their bottom line. Why would our politicians want to waste tax dollars on profits for shareholders from the south? Its preposterous.

While Rainycrests board, which includes area politicians, insists the move would be temporary, CUPE is concerned about the future of services once the profit motive is introduced, along with the loss of accountability. Talks are also under way with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Riverside Health Care Centre about a possible amalgamation of services.

If the board cant handle the responsibility of managing the home, instead of bringing in a private middleman, they should ask Riverside to help manage the home especially if a merger is planned, suggested Caldwell. We also know the board received extra funding last month are they planning to hand it over to Extendicare for profits? The Liberal government awarded an additional $264,000 to the home last month, following a string of budget cuts under the previous Conservative government.

CUPE will be raising awareness around this important issue and calling on residents to contact area mayors and other local politicians, to urge them not sign over control to

Extendicare. We need to ensure that all our tax dollars are spent on care and we dont want our elected representatives to lay out the welcome mat for a multinational corporation, said Caldwell. This would be a huge mistake especially when we have the means to manage our own affairs right here in the North. Rainycrests board of directors will vote on November 30th to decide whether or not to contract out management to Extendicare.


For further information, please contact:
Lorelei Caldwell, Spokesperson CUPE Local 65 - 807-274-5783
Garth Smith, CUPE National Rep. - 416-729-7030 cell
James Chai, CUPE Communications - 416-292-3999